Tuesday, March 16, 2010
these eggs are special. why? is it because they come from happy chickens, birds who live happy chicken lives, doing what chickens do and not confined to 60-square-inch battery cages with their beaks chopped off? well, yes. but i can get those eggs from several booths at the farmers market. what makes these eggs extra special is that they are the enterprise of a 12-year-old named caity, and i learned chatting with her dad at the farmer's market one day that caity named one of her happy hens sir lancelot. awesome.
one day last spring i was desperately uninterested in cooking myself any lunch. but, i was hungry, and, ya know, eating is good for you. i dug around and found i had bread, cheese, caity's eggs, and half of an avocado. that day was born my favorite breakfast treat (when i'm willing to buy california produce, anyway), and, in honor of caity's gallant and knightly egg-laying hen, i've named it the sir lancelot.
the sir lancelot is basically cheese toast, or an open-faced grilled cheese, topped with an over-medium egg and some slices of avocado.
cook egg to over medium, or whatever is your pleasure. season with salt and pepper. (look how dark the yolks of caity's eggs are! for egg nutrition, darker is better. links to a couple of articles below.)
meanwhile, slice some cheese on a piece of bread (cheddar, monterey jack, whatever you like), and melt it in a 350 degree oven. remove from oven and top with cooked egg.
melt a pat of butter over medium heat in pan or griddle, and cook cheese toast with egg until the bottom of the bread is golden and crunchy. don't skip this step! the crunchy bottom is what makes the sir lancelot awesome.
move toast to plate, slice avocado, and arrange on top.
dig in. if you're feeling particularly sassy, have some bacon on the side. mmm...
here's a blog post (mentioning caity's eggs!) with lots of information on vitamin K2 MK-4 levels in eggs from pastured hens: vitamin K2 MK-4 in eggs, gofrolic.org
gofrolic links to an article on mother earth news, which reports that pastured eggs contain:
• 1/3 less cholesterol
• 1/4 less saturated fat
• 2/3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene
from farm sanctuary, a description of conditions for egg-laying hens in the US: factory egg production, the welfare of hens in battery cages (summary-- beyond horrifying.)
voters in california passed a "prevention of farm animal cruelty act" in 2008, banning battery-cage confinement statewide. also, wal-mart announced last month that it's great value brand eggs are cage-free. cage free is not actually free, but at least the birds can walk. a good description of what cage-free means here, from the humane society.
the best news is that there are more and more pastured hens around-- more municipalities allowing egg-laying hens inside the city limits, and more family farms (and caitys!) raising chickens and selling eggs. produce stands, farmer's markets, green grocers-- look around and see what you can find. or, build a coop and buy some chicks! if being nice to the birds gives us healthier food, well, that's about as good an example of a win-win as i can imagine.
caity's eggs from woodring northwest specialties